Given his rather impressive history of delivering biting comedy, it’s a shame that Ben Elton’s latest foray into the genre comes up so short.
Set over the course of three consecutive instalments of “Westival”, a folk-heavy music festival rife with kooky characters that tick all the stereotypical boxes you’d expect, ‘Three Summers’ is a mostly-miss-only-sporadically-hit comedy that frustratingly wastes its talented cast on unnatural dialogue and characterisations.
As Deborah Mailman’s no-nonsense AA mediator attempts to coax John Waters’ in-denial musician to her meetings, and Michael Caton’s racist grandfather-type learns the errors of his bigoted ways, a semi-love story between feisty fiddle-playing Keevey (Rebecca Breeds, the ‘Home & Away’ alum providing one of the film’s only quality performances) and ego-centric Theremin devotee Roland (Robert Sheehan, laying the cynicism on thick) lays at the film’s core, hoping that their rom will offset the lack of the plot’s com.
There are brief moments when ‘Three Summers’ manages to evoke an audible laugh or two from its audience, namely instances involving Magda Szubanski (the film’s other saving grace next to Breeds) as the festival’s MC Queenie, and the humourless tact of Kate Box’s security guard, but momentary giggles don’t prove enough of an elation to deem this disappointing comedy worthy of a visit.
Three Summers is in select Australian cinemas now. Watch the trailer below: